Debutantes & Dealers
The Seattle-based quintet Vaudeville Etiquette is set to storm into the burgeoning neo folk alt country scene with their full-length debut ‘Debutantes & Dealers.’ What may set them apart from the sing along while we bang on a drum crowd is the group’s country and bluegrass leanings and book smart lyrics. The music is rightly so centered on the singing and songwriting team of Taylor Lynn and Bradley Laina who are backed by the stalwart trio of drummer Bryce Gourly, multi instrumentalist Matt Teske and bassist Sander Vinberg, whose firm lines hold it all together. The resulting sound harkens back to the bluegrass tradition of singing around one microphone, tossing solos, and verses around and then all joining together on the big chorus. Lynn and Laina have strong individual vocal tones but have mastered the art of blending together; imagine Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham fronting a country band.
The songs are a continuation of the group’s 2013 debut EP ‘Debutantes’ that caught the ear of Sunyata records founder Barrett Martin who signed the group and enlisted music icon Jack Endino to join him in recording and mixing the full-length album. Martin ,the album producer, no doubt contributed to the creative percussion as he adds thundering Surdo to the opening track “Blood & Bone” and its rally call to “pack your bullets and let’s go.”
Wailing pedal steel from Teske lifts the waltzing “Pick Me Up,” giving it a high lonesome feel. The swampy stomp “Devil’s Daughter” is a bittersweet blues of forbidden love. Fans of the now defunct Civil Wars will flock to the sound of heartbroken country duets like “Rose & Ivy,” and “Abilene.” The clever simplicity of creating an entire song around the idea of just singing “OH,” is a fantastic device that Lynn delivers with perfection.
The album dips its toe into the theater of the macabre during the spooky swing “Six Feet Deep,” then ads a touch of Spaghetti Western to the rocking “Down to the Alley.” Stay tuned after the 12th track for a little bit of that Vaudeville you’ve been waiting for as the unlisted jaunty party song “Bathtub Gin,” complete with kazoo solo, awaits you as a tasty bonus.
Originally published at Innocent Words April 30.2014
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Rick J Bowen